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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pedro Martinez gives Derek Jeter ultimate compliment

Pedro Martinez Red SoxPedro Martinez paid Derek Jeter the ultimate compliment on Tuesday, saying the New York Yankees shortstop was the one player he wanted to avoid during the postseason.

Pedro is doing some work for TBS as a postseason analyst and was asked during the network’s pregame show prior to the Pittsburgh Pirates-Cincinnati Reds playoff game whether he pitched around any hitters in the postseason. Mark DeRosa asked Pedro the question, and Martinez gave his answer. The three-time Cy Young Award winner specifically mentioned Jeter as the guy he tried avoiding.

“Yeah, plenty of them,” said Martinez. “Depending on the situation. Depending on the situation. The one I did not want to see forever in the postseason was actually (Derek) Jeter. Jeter was just uncomfortable to pitch to, especially in the postseason. It seems like he won’t swing and miss at a pitch. And then you make a great pitch, a quality pitch, and he fouls it off.”

Pedro’s answer probably isn’t too surprising. Jeter has long been lauded for being a clutch performer who delivers in the playoffs. The Yankees shortstop has batted .308/.374/.465 in 158 career playoff games, and has clubbed 32 doubles, five triples, and 20 home runs. Keep in mind that you’re usually facing 1-4 starters from the best teams during the postseason.

Pedro pitched in the World Series twice in his career. He helped the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004, but he went 0-2 as a starter for the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Yankees in 2009. Hideki Matsui was MVP of that series.

If you look at Jeter’s career postseason stats against Pedro, the pitcher’s response makes sense.

Martinez pitched a two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts in 7 innings against the Yankees in the 1999 ALCS. Jeter and Tino Martinez got the only hits against him that game. Pedro went 0-1 in two starts vs the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS. He gave up four runs in a Game 3 loss. Jeter went 2-for-3 with a single and home run against him in Game 3. Pedro allowed five runs in 7.1 innings in Game 7 that year, which was the game many felt Grady Little left him in too long. Pedro retired Jeter the first three times, but allowed a double to the shortstop in the 8th inning when the Yanks rallied to tie the game.

Pedro took the loss in Game 2 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. He allowed all three runs in a 3-1 loss. Jeter walked, stole second, and scored in the first, though Martinez retired him the next two times. Pedro gave up all five runs the Sox allowed during Game 5 of the series. After retiring Jeter the first three times he faced him, Pedro allowed a bases-clearing 3-run double to the shortstop to give the Yankees the lead. Luckily for him the Sox came back to win the game in 14.

In 2009, Pedro pitched Game 2 of the World Series for the Phillies against the Yankees. He gave up all three runs in a 3-1 loss. Jeter went 1-for-3 off him with two strikeouts and a double. Pedro allowed four runs in four innings in a series-ending Game 6 loss. Jeter went 1-for-2 off him.

Sure, Pedro struck Jeter out a bunch in the postseason, but the Yankees all-star seemed to get the best of him in every game. That definitely explains why Pedro said what he did.

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